by: Kimberli Mejia Quito
Let’s not forget the worst attack directed at members of the Latino community in modern American history, the massacre that occurred in El Paso. Let it not be dismissed, racism and white supremacy were rooted within this terrorist attack. On August 3, 2019, Patrick Crusius of 21 years old, drove nine hours to a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, where he partook in a racially motivated attack. The mass shooting took the lives of 22 individuals, 19 of which had Spanish surnames, and eight of which were Mexican citizens. According to authorities, Cruises, the white male, had uploaded a 2,300-word manifesto online elaborating his reasons for conducting the attack. In the manifesto, Crusius mentioned that this hate crime was a response to a “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and many of his elaborations incorporated specific rhetoric from the Trump Administration’s speeches.
Despite Mr. Trump insisting that he isn’t racist, his history and the speeches he gives prove otherwise. Painting Mexican immigrants and other immigrants from Central America as criminals and rapists contradicts his claim that he isn’t racist. Portraying a community of color as criminals and rapists not only ruins the reputation of that community, but inflicts fear upon the public which then leads to hatred and xenophobia; an irrational fear of foreigners or of anything foreign. An example of xenophobia would be an individual who is fearful or hateful of recent immigrants simply because they are immigrants. The rhetoric and terminology that those in power utilize have consequences; the 2019 El Paso massacre is an example of this.
The misrepresentation of a community of color inflicts harm upon the members of that community, and the victims of the massacre in El Paso are examples of how harmful misrepresentation can be. When white men who possess immense power use racist language, it shouldn’t be surprising when others choose to mimic him.
East Side Students were interviewed in hopes to highlight diverse perspectives on this issue. A student in the 10th grade, Connie Chen, said, “I’m not educated much on this event but I am aware that it is a devastating tragedy that affected Latino American history and the community as well.” Another student also in the 10th grade said, “I think it’s very messed up and Trump’s views on Mexicans and the Latino community influenced the white man to commit this crime.” It’s clear that the President’s racism, bigotry and xenophobia has influenced Crusius, a white male, to commit a hate crime directed at members of the Latino community.
The President’s xenophobia, and that of many of his followers, is embedded in the fear that they’ll become a minority in a country that was never theirs to begin with. White people are so fearful of becoming a minority and it reflects the way minorities of color are treated in this country.
In less than 30 years, non-Hispanic whites may not remain the majority of the population of the United States and that inflicts fear in them. Isn’t it rather confusing? What do white people have to be afraid of in a world structured on white privilege and white supremacy? It rather seems self-absorbing to even bring attention to the fears of white people in a white-supremacist society. However it’s clear that they fear they’ll soon be living in a world in which those of non-European ancestry might someday gain the kind of power and authority over whites that whites have monopolized centuries ago.
Fernanda Santos, author of “I Felt Safe in America. Until El Paso” brought attention to the fact that many white people believe that “we must stop immigration because Latinos will distort American culture and replace “real Americans”(2). This signifies the language of white supremacy. By American culture and real Americans, they mean white people and white culture. However, white culture consists of willful ignorance, racism, sexism, genocidal intent, homophobia, appropriation, elitism, and greed. White culture consists of expecting to be protected in every single aspect regarding life especially in the confrontations that incorporate their own evident racism and bigotry. White culture is colonization, cultural genocide, slavery, christianization, human trafficking and land theft. White culture is white people turning themselves into victims when a person of color calls out their white privilege. However, little do they know that America is white culture. The government, the police, the military, and the prisons.
The systematic oppression imposed by white people has caused a natural imbalance, making something as simple as equality seem abnormal or uncanny because white culture has become so accustomed to superiority that equality seems like oppression. That’s why they say American culture and real Americans, to further push their xenophobic agenda. By American culture and real Americans, their intent is to exclude black people, Muslims, Asian-Americans, Latinos and many others, including those who are mixed-race Americans. White people have created systems of oppression with the sole purpose of dividing society, and it’s clear that these systems are still enforced today, which encourages others to act upon their racism which is deep rooted within white supremacy.